Environment

In the Greater Mekong Subregion, 200 million people in rural areas depend on their surrounding environment for food, water, energy, and income. Forests, wetlands, mangroves, farmlands, and other ecosystems account for between 20% and 55% of the subregion's wealth.

The Working Group on Environment (WGE) provides overall leadership and direction for the subregion's Core Environment Program.


These natural ecosystems – and the food, water, energy and other vital elements they provide – lie at the heart of the development of the Greater Mekong Subregion. How these natural resources are protected, managed, and enhanced will determine the long-term sustainability of its environment and economic development.

Overexploitation of natural resources, pollution, vulnerability to climate change, and ever-increasing natural disasters are threatening these ecosystems. In addition, environmental degradation is posing risks to sustained long-term growth, and could cost a whopping $55 billion in foregone services over the next 25 years if left unchecked.

Unless there is better planning and management, the subregion’s resource-intensive development approach could lead to food shortages, price shocks, health hazards, and environmental damage that impact thousands of families and put businesses at risk.

To address these issues, the six GMS countries are partnering to protect and enhance their natural capital through the GMS Core Environment Program with the vision of a poverty-free and ecologically rich subregion.

The program is administered by the Asian Development Bank and overseen by the GMS Working Group on the Environment, made up of representatives of the GMS environment ministries. The work is coordinated by the GMS Environment Operations Center, which is hosted by ADB’s Thailand Resident Mission.

With support from this program, countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion are working to meet the increasing demand for food, energy, water, and other natural resources, while at the same time ensuring that resources are available for future generations. This includes balancing rapid growth with sustainable practices, and protecting vital water resources, controlling floods, preserving biodiversity and critical ecosystems, and mitigating the impacts of urban expansion.

At the 5th GMS Environment Ministers' Meeting in Chiang Mai from 30 January to 1 February 2018, the ministers endorsed the Core Environment Program Strategic Framework and Action Plan 2018-2022.

Related

Summary of Proceedings

GMS Core Environment Program website

Focal Persons at the Asian Development Bank

  • Srinivasan Ancha
    Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Mark Bezuijen
    Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Division,
    East Asia Department

Other Concerned Staff & Consultants

  • Asadullah Sumbal
    Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Rafaelita Jamon
    Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
    Southeast Asia Department/GMS Secretariat

Send inquiries to GMS SAFSP Secretariat and GMS Secretariat.


January 2022 | Issue 1

This is the inaugural newsletter issue for the GMS Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Program. It features the Inception Workshop and the key findings from the draft Inception Report as it awaits final approval from ADB. The newsletter also focuses on the recent UN conferences on biodiversity (COP15) and climate change (COP26), and how these relate to the CCESP and the GMS countries' respective goals.


Climate-resilient infrastructure protected the rice fields and improved livelihood opportunities in the area. Photo credit: National Project Coordination Office Project Team, Department of Irrigation, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Securing Lives and Livelihoods in Southern Vientiane through Climate Mitigation

Farmers are managing seasonal floods and droughts better, thanks to a modern irrigation system, flood-proof road, and disaster risk control measures.

Case Study

Viet Nam Industry 4.0 Summit 2021 Promotes Industrialization and Modernization in the Digital Age

The Viet Nam Industry 4.0 Summit 2021 highlighted the creation of a sustainable socioeconomic recovery and growth in Viet Nam in the post-COVID-19 era, and promoted industrialization and modernization in the digital age.  

Mr. Andrew Jeffries, Country Director for ADB Viet Nam Resident Mission, joined the plenary discussion on post-pandemic economic recovery and digital transformation as a new vehicle for green recovery on 5 December 2021.  

GMS in the News

Meeting photo via Viet Nam Plus

Second Mekong-U.S. Partnership Ministerial Meeting Underscores U.S. Commitment to the Subregion

The second Mekong-U.S. Partnership Ministerial Meeting held on 2 August 2021 unveiled four flagship projects under the Mekong-U.S. Partnership, and noted the 8.5 million vaccine doses and over $58 million in U.S. COVID-19 assistance to the Mekong subregion countries.

GMS in the News

An aerial rendering of the SDZ. Photo by the Yunnan Provincial Overseas Investment Co. Ltd.

PRC, Lao PDR Jointly Developing a Low-carbon Demonstration Zone

The Vientiane Saysettha Development Zone (SDZ) is being developed into a low-carbon demonstration model by the Lao-China Joint Venture Investment Co., Ltd. (LCJV). Low carbon demonstration zones hope to address climate change and green and low-carbon transition, and boost regional cooperation with the PRC. 

GMS in the News

The watershed of the Nakai Reservoircontains Lao PDR's largest biodiversity area with an outstanding collection of plants and animals endemic to Southeast Asia. Photo by ADB

PRC Firm, Lao PDR Sign MoU for Forest Restoration and Agri Development Study

Jiarun Agricultural Development Co, Ltd., of the People's Republic of China, and the Ministry of Planning and Investment of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the feasibility study for a forest restoration and ecological agriculture development project. The MoU states that the feasibility study will be conducted for 5,000 hectares of land in Sanamxay district of Attapeu province in southern Lao PDR. The project is envisioned to generate over 50,000 local jobs, promoting the local economy and raising the people's living standards. 

GMS in the News

The ACGF Green Recovery Program aims to leverage GCF and ADB funds to catalyze financing from development partners and private capital sources to support more than $4 billion worth of green infrastructure projects across the region.

$300 Million from Green Climate Fund to Support ADB’s First Green Recovery Program in Southeast Asia

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has allocated $300 million to support the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) efforts to help Southeast Asia shape a climate-resilient, environmentally sustainable economic recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

News Releases